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Slater, Smith Downplay Reported Interest in Coliseum

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Times Staff Writer

Ram players downplayed the team’s reported interest in moving back to the Coliseum after a 40-31 exhibition loss to the Denver Broncos at Anaheim Stadium Wednesday night.

But tackle Jackie Slater, one of three current Rams who played for the team in its Coliseum days, said the move wouldn’t bother him.

“I don’t know if there is any truth to it,” Slater said. “But I don’t care if they want to play in the Pacific Ocean; I’ll be there. I don’t care where we play.

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“Orange County has been good to us. But I trust the management to do what it thinks is best for the team. If they think moving back to L.A. is in our best interests, that’s fine with me.”

The Rams moved from the Coliseum to Anaheim Stadium after they won their only NFC championship in 1979. On Tuesday, after a ceremony marking the signing of a five-year deal to manage the Coliseum, Irving Azoff, chairman of MCA Inc.’s Music Entertainment Group, said Ram Vice President John Shaw had requested talks concerning his team’s possible return to the Coliseum.

Shaw denied any direct overture, but Azoff said the request was made through a third party.

Center Doug Smith said he doubted the reports.

“I wouldn’t bet on it,” Smith said. “But I don’t know any more than you do. All I know is what I read in the papers.

“I like it in Anaheim, but I liked it in the Coliseum, too. I had a lot of good times there.”

Smith said he could understand management’s reasoning if it wanted to move back to Los Angeles.

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“If they feel like Anaheim isn’t working out the way they thought it would, then they should move,” he said, “but I don’t know what their thinking is, or even if there is any truth to what’s been said.

“It’s really to early to say anymore.”

Most Rams questioned about the move declined comment.

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